One of the biggest mysteries in all of A Series of Unfortunate Events is easily Esme Squalor’s obsession with the sugar bowl and why it matters. Now that the second season of the Netflix adaptation of the popular Lemony Snicket is out, viewers might be wondering if the sugar bowl conundrum will be explained in the third season. Sadly, the answer is: probably not.
Though teased out a [little bit in season one](https://www.inverse.com/article/26348-netflix-lemony-snicket-secret-spies-vfd-series-of-unfortunate-events), the idea that Beatrice — the mother of the Baudelaire children — took a sugar bowl from Esme seems to be the source of their beef. But, who cares? Why is the sugar bowl such a big deal? As Lemony Snicket might say, these are the wrong questions. While some aspects of A Series of Unfortunate Events are totally meant to be taken 100 percent literally, others, not so much. Part of the charm of these stories is that sometimes the reality of the stories drift into meta-criticism of the mere idea of a story like this. And, it’s in that metaphysical grey area where the VFD sugar bowl lives.
Some fan theories contend that the Sugar Bowl contains the deadly spores called Medusoid Mycelium, which are introduced in The Grim Grotto which would possibly mean the Netflix series could reveal that in the third season. But, it’s also possible that the Sugar Bowl contains the antidote to Medusoid Mycelium, which is horseradish.
Author Daniel Handler has said the Sugar Bowl conundrum is “solvable,” but, truthfully, it probably doesn’t matter. Like so many things about A Series of Unfortunate Events, the journey is more compelling than the resolution. In this way, the Sugar Bowl is just a MacGuffin of the idea of a MacGuffin; a stand-in for whatever important object could potentially dominate any fantasy narrative. What’s inside might not matter.
For more literal-minded viewers the lack of a definitive answer about the sugar bowl might be a little annoying. But, by now, everyone should be aware that being a little irritating is part of the appeal of these stories.
Then again, it’s possible that the Netflix version of the conclusion of the series might specifically explain the sugar bowl. After all, a certain librarian got a totally different backstory this season. Could the sugar bowl be next? - A Series of Unfortunate Events season 2 is streaming now on Netflix. Season 3 is currently filming.